ALCOHOL ABUSE STATISTICS
We just moved into a new year, a new decade. This is the time when New Year’s resolutions are at their strongest. People are energized, and they’re making plans for personal betterment. But we all know what happens next. Such resolutions are gradually left by the wayside.
Although men still misuse alcohol at a rate higher than women, new research indicates that the gap is closing. A study published in PLOS Medicine and reported on in U.S. News brought the spotlight onto this concerning issue.
When we think of addiction, our thoughts often go to illegal drugs, and narcotics that are bought and sold on the streets and back alleys of inner cities and bad neighborhoods. However, one of the most addictive drugs in the world is entirely legal, very easy to get, and almost universally accepted. We are speaking, of course, of alcohol.
We might not think of alcohol when we think of the world’s most addictive or harmful drug, but alcohol is up there, completely dwarfing narcotic drugs and mind-altering substances. Alcohol is a drug, in every sense of the word, and just because it is legal in the United States and other countries does not mean it is harmless.
In the U.S., we love our alcohol. That just goes without saying. Alcohol consumption has become a regular part of our lives and such a frequent and normal occurrence that we don’t even think twice about.
We know that there are unintended consequences of alcohol consumption. We know that drinking alcohol can lead to poor choices, drunk driving, fights, public drunkenness, legal issues, unhealthy sexual decisions, bad hangovers, failed drug tests, career problems, family problems, and so on.
No parent wants to find out that their teen has a drinking problem. Parents want the best for their kids. Parents want their kids to have healthy and rewarding lifestyles, to do well in school and in activities of their own choosing, and to experience adolescence and young adulthood in a way that sets them up for a rewarding and pleasant adult life. But teen drinking throws a monkey wrench into the best-laid plans…
Alcohol ads make drinking look like a lot of fun or a sure way to attract the opposite sex. But if you think about it for a minute, that might not be all of the story. If you watch any kind of cable or broadcast television, you’ve seen ads for alcohol.
Despite laws, despite the fact that many parents warn their children against using alcohol when they are underage, the vast majority of our adolescents drink alcohol. You can see exactly how many in this chart from the Surgeon General’s 2007 Call to Action to end underage drinking.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, an event sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD). Recently, the NCADD announced that the theme for this year’s event is “Help for Today.